The Ohio Beef Expo...2016 Edition
Last weekend we attended the Ohio Beef Expo. As in past years, we had a great time. This year there were a total of 53 head of Miniature Herefords. It was a big increase from last year, and we were glad to see the increased interest in the show. We competed against breeders from Indiana, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Arkansas and of course, Ohio.
We entered Six and Rain in the show. We usually try to take more head to the Ohio Beef Expo, but we just didn't have any other cows of eligible age. That's o.k....we didn't have to work quite as hard this year.
Wednesday afternoon, Daniel hopped in the truck, picked up the boys from Grandma's house and headed to the Ohio State Fairgrounds. I met them there after work.
We had the trailer loaded with all of our tack and equipment. We unloaded and set up the fan cage and got all of the signs and the rest of our display in place. There were a few other Ohio breeders already there, and we took advantage of the early night to enjoy dinner out together.
Thursday morning we got up bright and early and loaded the cows onto the trailer.
Once we arrived at the fairgrounds we hurried to grab a place at the wash rack and got everyone washed and dried.
Our fitter arrived at about 9:00 a.m. to begin doing the rough clipping on the heifers. We decided to hire a fitter this year....because they are just better at clipping than we are, and Daniel gets a little stressed out on show day. We decided that it was better to be able to relax a little and visit with the many people that came to watch the show, than to be scrambling around trying to get everything done by show time. It was well worth the money.
And what a pile of hair...
Rain did not want to stand still for the fitter, so Walker was on scratching duty. It wasn't long before boredom got the best of him.
Friday morning started off before daylight with another trip to the wash stall. We got them washed and dried early so that we could avoid the wash rack congestion. Then, we let the girls rest and relax back in their stalls. We knew it was going to be a long day with a lot of standing, and we wanted them as rested as possible.
About 12:15 p.m. the fitter was back to get ready for the show. The show ended up starting an hour late because the show before us went late. It gave everyone some time to talk, relax, make final adjustments and get and give final pointers.
You can spend countless hours at home working your cows, but cows are just like kids, and you never know if they are going to behave in public or not. Sometimes nerves get the best of cows too, and they can turn on the idiot gene in the show ring.
When Isaac walked into the show ring with Six, I knew that all the puzzle pieces were falling into place. Six did not make a wrong move and performed her best. What amazed me even more was Isaac. Everything that anyone has ever told him to do...he did. He was the perfect showman. It is a rare moment when cow and kid mesh so perfectly at the moment when it counts the most. I wish I had thought to take a video, because it was a phenomenal moment to watch. He sure made his mom and dad proud!
Six won her class and then went on to win Champion Spring Junior Heifer Calf.
Walker did really well with Rain. They won their class and then went on to win the Fall & Winter Intermediate Heifer division.
I love seeing the boys in the ring together, especially when it is the final drive. Believe it or not, Isaac and Walker are not competitive when they are showing against each other. Now...when it comes to who gets to take a shower first, the competition is on.
Six was chosen as Reserve Grand Champion Heifer!
Saturday morning we were back bright and early. We got the cows fed and settled into their stalls in the sale barn. Isaac and Walker headed off to the youth judging contest while Daniel and I talked with visitors walking through the sale barn.
Isaac and Walker joined with their cousin again this year to form a judging team. Their team placed 19th out of 44 teams. Isaac ended up placing 19th out of 140 participants in the individual scores. Not bad for a group of boys who have had not official coaching or judging training.
Isaac and Walker were going to compete in the junior showmanship competition on Saturday afternoon, but at the last minute decided to scratch. Everyone was tired, including the cows, we still had to tear down in the sale barn and we wanted to go through the vendor area one last time. We knew Sunday was going to be a very long day, so we took advantage of a somewhat earlier night.
Sunday was the BEST junior show. One other heifer stayed over from the open show so we had a total of 3 miniature heifers. It is not many, but it is a step in the right direction for keeping a miniature breeds division in the BEST program. Each of the heifers was in a different age class, so they each won their respective classes. For the overall breed champion, the judge switched things up and chose Rain. Six was the reserve champion.
Rain was also chosen Best of the Buckeye. Best of the Buckeye is an award just for cattle that have been bred and born right here in Ohio. This is a way for Ohio to promote and reward the breeders of our state.
The day had already been very long, but we stayed an extra 3 hours so that Rain and Walker could participate in the heifer final drive. We don't have a chance competing against the big boys, but it is an honor to show along the best of the best. It is also a great opportunity for us to promote the miniature breeds.
Rain was tired and did not appreciate having to go back into the show ring. She was right next to the exit and knew it. She fought Walker the entire time and he had to work his tail off to keep her in line. By the time he got back to the stall he was in tears from frustration and exhaustion. We reminded him that it was an honor to be there, and...the faster we got the trailer loaded, the sooner he could take a nap.
We have special memories from each Ohio Beef Expo that we have attended. This year was no different. So much time and effort is put into each show, and it is always fun to see it all come together. We were very blessed this year to take two cows and come home with two titles.
Isaac won an new belt buckle and had the difficult decision of deciding which buckle to keep and which one to pass down to his brother. Walker didn't care which buckle he got, just as long as it had a cow on it.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.